Dig for Centenary Wood on Saturday

People from Londonderry are invited to take part in a special tree planting event next Saturday, November 8, to mark the centenary of the First World War.

Tuesday, 4th November 2014, 8:41 am
HRH The Princess Royal pictured talking to Cumber Claudy Primary School schoolchildren at the launch of the Centenary Wood in the heart of the Faughan Valley. Photo by Simon Graham/Harrison Photography

The event will take place at the Centenary Wood, which was formally launched in April by the Princess Royal at ‘Brackfield Wood’ in the Faughan Valley. It is one of four flagship woods being created across the UK in commemoration of WWI. The aim is to plant over three million trees, representing the millions of lives lost or damaged by the war.

From 12pm to 3pm people are sought to help plant Brackfield’s first trees; the first of an ambitious 40,000. Or people can decorate the landscape by planting wildflower bulbs. The event will include a glimpse of wartime life thanks to actors in the guise of a soldier and his family.

Car parking will be available by the ruins of Brackfield Bawn, just off the Glenshane Road. Look out for the road sign marked ‘Ness Country Park/Brackfield Bawn’. A shuttle bus will transport visitors to the wood.

Free refreshments will be provided. Those taking part are asked to wear stout footwear or welly boots. For further information telephone Michelle McCaughtry at the Woodland Trust on 02891 275787. To find out more about the Centenary Woods project visit www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/fww

Stanley McMinn, whose uncle, Private Edmund Gray died at the Battle of Passchendaele in 1917, said: “I was reared on stories about my Uncle Eddie from my earliest years. My mother, Eddie’s younger sister, idolised him. Sadly, at just 26 years old, he was killed by shellfire at Passchendaele while retrieving a wounded officer.

Mr McMinn continued: “There is no known grave and his remains were never found. This Centenary Wood will be a unique and peaceful tribute to all those who served in, or lived during, the war.”

The site’s purchase has been assisted by Northern Ireland Environment Agency, a number of charitable trusts and foundations1, and the generosity of individual donors. The tree-planting event is supported by the HLF-funded Faughan Valley Landscape Partnership Scheme.